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Home / Technology / Google Stadia is the future of the game and that's bad news for Earth

Google Stadia is the future of the game and that's bad news for Earth

  google stadia is the future of gaming and thats bad news for googleville in dallesport wa
Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

You would have difficulty finding Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon, if anyone had this would not do that. I will show you. The complex is not small ̵

1; it needs about 800,000 square feet, a little less than 14 football pitches – but the nondescript, silver-beige building does not push high-tech, unless you already know what you're looking for. [19659004] The biggest giveaway is not what you see, it's what you do not do. The undocumented data centers will not give away their owner so easily, and no loaded trucks will be driven through the gates of the facility. The Columbia Road, a two-lane pavement that leads to the heart of the complex, is one of the few streets you can not visit with Google Street View.

Anonymous data centers like this will push Google Stadia, the company's bold expansion, in the announcement of the GDC In 2019, the company proudly shared the many benefits of the platform for gamers and game developers. When it does arrive, the home console and physical games are effectively destroyed and replaced by the cloud. Every game you own will live in the cloud, accessible from anywhere via an internet connection and playable on any device. The goal is nothing less than a reinvention of the entire video game industry.

Stadia could be great for gamers who can not afford the latest hardware. However, changing our style of play will have unintended consequences. Google's Stadia – and services like these – could be bad news for anyone hoping to reverse the course of global warming.

  google stadia is the future of gambling, and that's bad news for dallesport wa's earth's gaze
Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

Setting a good example

For Google's credit, its data centers in The Dalles are probably the model of what a modern data center should look like. Even the location is part of the corporate strategy. The Dalles is a city of less than 16,000 and is located one and a half hours east of Portland, Oregon. It does not scream high-tech, but it has excellent access to renewable energy.

Oregon is one of the leading companies in the renewable energy sector. More than three quarters of power generation comes from renewable sources.

Gary Cook, According to Greenpeace's IT sector analyst, Google is more responsible than many of its peers. "They are one of the few companies looking to build their infrastructure to provide access to renewable energy where they build these data centers," says Cook.

The data from Dalles Centers are a perfect example. It is just 1 mile from Dalles Dam, one of several hydroelectric power plants along the Columbia River. Oregon is one of the leading companies in the renewable energy sector, with more than three quarters of renewable electricity generation.

  google stadia is the future of gambling and this is bad news for the Earth Dals Dam
The Dalles Dam Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

This is in contrast to Amazon, which also has one Huge amount of streaming content from its ever growing list of facilities houses.

"Amazon is light years behind them . Amazon's rapid growth has been linked to a commitment to renewables, and they sort of got out of it by the end of 2016, "says Cook. As Google makes efforts to build near renewable energy, Amazon has seen explosive growth in Virginia, where a swarm of new data centers (led by Amazon Web Services) are overpowering plans to invest in green energy and increasing demand for fracked energy. Gas energy has fueled. [19659004] Renewable energy accounts for only 4 percent of state energy production. While Google currently has four facilities in Virginia, the Clean Clean report from Virginia estimates that Greenpeace uses a relatively modest 77 megawatts per year. Amazon now has seventeen locations, each with at least three locations, consuming a total of an estimated 1,686 megawatts per year.

<img onerror = "dti_load_error (this)" class = "size-large wp-image-2322277" src = "https://icdn3.digitaltrends.com/image/windfarm-in-the-columbia-river- gorge-2-720×720.jpg "alt =" google stadia is the future of gambling and that is bad news for the earth's wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge 2 [19659028] Columbia River Gorge Wind Farm Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

The focus on renewable energy is paired with a focus on efficiency: Google, like many competitors, publishes quarterly Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) figures for its data centers, which measures the additional power consumed to support each watt Data Center Required for Calculation.

The first of the two data centers in The Dalles achieved a PUE of 1.11 in the last quarter, while the second, newer facility reached a PUE of 1.24, a report published in 2017 by MDPI. Journal "Energies" published It has anchored the average PUE of the global data center to 1.8, which means that Google's data centers are far more efficient than most. This is true for all of Google's data centers, which reached a "fleet-wide" PUE of just 1.1 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Will others follow?

At a Glance, Google's Commitment to Efficient Data Centers Powered by Renewable Energy Energy could ease worries about the power needs of cloud games. The company's data centers are constantly improving efficiency, not just as a moral imperative, but also to save money.

However, Amazon's decision to opt-out of the renewal activities is only cautious. Google's focus on renewable energy and efficiency is voluntary. There is no reason why Google could not free itself from its obligations.

There's nothing that could keep a less responsible competitor like Amazon out of the fight. Amazon already has a game engine called Lumberyard, designed to work with Amazon Web Services, and the company has a huge gaming power because of its owners of Twitch. A cloud game service would not be a big deal for Amazon. However, if the company does not listen to its own employees and make a drastic new commitment to green operations, Amazon's entry into cloud gaming would be an immediate problem for those hoping for a game without leaving a massive carbon footprint.

Even though Amazon remains on the sidelines, others will not. Nvidia, Sony and Shadow are among the companies that already have cloud gaming services, and others will no doubt follow their example. Not all companies focus on efficiency. In fact, the smallest vendors will depend on colocation data centers that can lease services to those who need them on-demand or from a large industrial company like Amazon. This can lead to a confused network of connections that makes it difficult to know the efficiency of a cloud game service.

I turned to Nvidia, Sony and Shadow for this article. Only Shadow offered a comment. A company spokesperson said that efficiency is "definitely a factor in choosing a peering partner as we grow our data center operations." Shadow also provided efficiency metrics for three of the colocation data centers, which its partners on average had a relatively good PUE of 1.44 (not as low as Google, but lower than the industry average). The transparency of Shadow was refreshing. Unfortunately, this is not the norm in the industry yet.

Nvidia and Sony do not disclose these numbers and are not committed to renewable energy for their cloud gaming services. Sony offers a PlayStation and the environment page on the PlayStation website, but it does cover the company's physical products. While Google provides some publicly available information about operating data centers, Google did not comment on this article.

The Player's Claim

Even the best efforts could be in vain because of a massive, indisputable problem. Demand.

Ubiquitous mobile data has caused streaming services, such as Netflix, to experience bandwidth issues. Video streaming now accounts for well over half of all Internet traffic, and some estimates predict that this number will rise to over 80 percent by 2021.

Incredible, this massive increase has occurred over a decade; The streaming video accounted for 30 percent of global data in 2009, compared to just 10 percent in 2005. The rapid acceleration of video streaming was driven not only by the global adoption of smartphones, but also by improved mobile data connections that made high quality streaming possible

  google stadia is the future of gambling and that is bad news for Earth Shadow Press Kit 3
. Shadow

5G is likely to gain the upper hand, and while mobile devices are benefiting massively from improved bandwidth and lower latency, these benefits are expected to only encourage frequent use of streaming services. "I've seen projections rising from 75 billion connected devices to 500 billion," says Gary Cook of Greenpeace. "This is a much larger ecosystem of devices connected to the Internet, and streaming in particular is expected to increase demand."

With the launch of Stadia in 2019, gambling will become a major player in this explosive growth. No study has evaluated the current bandwidth usage of global game streaming, and no predictions have been made – but gamers are Legion. Almost 70 percent of Americans play video games, and most players estimate that the number of gamers worldwide is over two billion.

Not all players would call themselves that. Many play on smartphones, which in turn will benefit greatly from 5G – and that's only for the benefit of streaming. A service like Stadia allows anyone to play high quality games on any device – even with a cheap phone. Unlike a game console that inevitably appeals to a larger hardcore audience, Stadia addresses the cliché "Netflix for Gaming." It is designed for mass consumption.

Extreme estimates suggest that data centers could account for 20 percent of total global energy use by 2025.

A surge in demand will increase the need for even more data centers, and more centers will inevitably move forward with power consumption. The industry-wide numbers are alarming. US data centers used more than 90 billion kilowatt hours in 2017, and global consumption is estimated at over 200 terawatt hours. The most extreme estimates are that data centers could account for 20 percent of global energy use by 2025.

Part of increased data center consumption could be offset by lower household consumption. Players embracing Stadia may decide they do not need a high-performance home PC, instead sticking to a less powerful device such as a laptop that consumes less power. However, the hope that reduced home use can offset the impact of cloud games is wrong. Research shows that streaming entertainment from the cloud consumes more energy overall, even though the viewer – or player – can reduce energy consumption at home.

Dr. Evan Mills, head of the Green Gaming Project and former senior scientist at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, has been studying the largely neglected issue of how playground equipment consumes energy for years. He sees some potential for cloud gaming, because of the nature of data centers, "a certain amount of work can be achieved with far-reaching efficiencies. This is the main opportunity for energy efficiency in general and especially for green gaming. "Unfortunately, the efficiency opportunity is offset by the infrastructure needs of a data center. "[…] With identical computing power, cloud gaming will almost always consume significantly more energy than a local client," he says.

"Cloud-based gaming is by far the most energy-intensive form of gambling over the Internet."

A study published in the year 2018 by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory poses figures for the problem, stating that "cloud-based gaming Playing by far the most energy-intensive form of the game over the Internet […] is "and that cloud gaming can increase total consumption by up to 300 percent, depending on device and utilization." [19659004] The biggest gains in overall performance are most efficient Devices on. Google believes that Stadia, which uses a custom AMD chip, can deliver 10.7 teraflops of computing power-a multiple of Microsoft's Xbox One X. However, this device is easily accessible through a Google Pixel phone or Chromecast streaming device. Evans found this dramatic in his research. He said that the "worst case" would actually be a media streaming device (like Nvidia Shield), which draws only about 10 watts in the household and still requires many hundreds of watts upstream.

This represents a tremendous increase in power consumption per session and at the same time gives players reason to believe that they are making a more responsible decision. The environmental costs are physically shifted from a player's home to the data center, a place that is strictly controlled by its owner and is many kilometers away. Gamers may find that they consume less power at home and conclude that cloud gaming is a win-win situation.

And not everything can mean that a game in the data center is presented in a complex and detailed way. At least part of it goes to the network needed to bring the data intersection from a data center to your home. The largest tech companies, including Google, have large private networks that specialize in providing huge amounts of data to users. They are very effective. Their reliability and speed enable modern video streaming. However, they have their own infrastructure, which also saves electricity.

  Google Unveils Stadia Streaming Service for GDC News Stage

"In our calculations for PC cloud games, the data center is responsible for about 340 watts of power per user and the network for an additional 180 watts."

The exact numbers may shift depending on the device used for streaming Distance data needs to be transferred, the data center efficiency that drives the cloud game service, and many other factors. There is no way for a streaming service user to provide games, videos, or anything else to experience how much performance requires comfort.

Only one thing is clear, final and transparent. The numbers never change so much that cloud games consume less power than local games, and there is no clear way to make that happen.

When access to a service is easier, demand increases, and that demand is often greater than efficiency can balance.

Yes, data centers are becoming more efficient. But for Greenpeace's Cook, efficiency can become a kind of curse. "Your per gigabyte of energy required per unit may decrease, but overall consumption continues to increase. And it actually goes much higher, "he says. "In a sense, the efficiency allows more consumption."

This is a core issue that involves all human innovations. Stadia, like the video streaming before and the World Wide Web before, is possible thanks to enormous efficiency gains. However, making service easier and less expensive inevitably leads to increased demand. Cloud games will not be different.

The Physical Question

The impact of cloud games on power consumption is easy to calculate, but somewhat abstract. The effects of higher energy consumption and the associated higher carbon footprint are not clear. Most of the carbon dioxide emissions come not from the data centers but from the power plants that supply them.

However, power is not the only resource that data centers consume. Many plants require a surprising amount of water. Often consumed by cooling towers, such as Google's data centers in The Dalles, data centers can indirectly increase water usage when the power plants used to power them consume water.

  google stadia is the future of gambling This is bad news for the Earth view from the Riverfront Trail 2 shallow dof
Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

"Water is something we look at because in some cases they are blocking a whole range of water rights to look for them, "says Cook." The biggest problem is some of the deals involving data centers In a case a new Google facility in Berkeley County, South Carolina called for 1.5 million gallons of water per day – inquiries like these are not exactly secret , but are usually routed under the radar, and the communities affected by the request seldom have direct input as to whether the request is approved. During the outcry of the public While it has helped slow the process of approving this particular South Carolina request, Google's existing permits allow the company to use 548 million gallons a year, and more are pending. Most inquiries continue without the public's notice.

"A considerable amount of water is being allocated to data centers that are not much discussed in public."

The data center industry also has an efficiency rating for water This applies to the power supply, but the topic has not attracted so much attention yet, and few companies publish water efficiency figures for their facilities. While there is plenty of water in some areas, this is far more worrying in areas prone to drought, such as California.

Physical waste is another potential problem. Theoretically, cloud games can reduce physical waste by reducing the demand for gaming devices such as consoles and video cards. However, data centers have their own hardware and this hardware is changed frequently.

As in other areas, Google seems to pay more attention to the environment than to comparable computers. The company uses a so-called "circular economy model" for data center management that focuses on repair and reuse as much as possible. Excess, broken or outdated components are sold or recycled as needed. As a result, Google's six data centers achieved a "landfill" rate of 100% in 2016.

Google Data Center Google

As with so many other companies in the data center industry It is unclear how Google will maintain this standard in the future. The company does not publish exact figures on how much garbage its data centers produce and where it is going, and says little about how future plans might change their obligations.

Stadia, for example, is an obvious problem. The promise of excellence is part of the appeal of gamers. This suggests that the company often needs to update its servers with state-of-the-art hardware. Could that interfere with Google's commitment to a circular economy?

The Real for Virtual Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming ultimately leads to an uncomfortable question. In what ways are we ready to hurt reality for a better virtual future?

I have no answer to this question. Nobody does. Like the rest of the debate on global warming and our environment, the answer is something that both individuals and society must win.

The real threat of cloud gaming – and all forms of streaming – is actually so obscure the question. Playing on a local device may remind you of its effects when it's time to give up your own console or when you accidentally leave your high-end gaming PC on the World of Warcraft character selection screw , Cloud games, however, shift the consequences to a remote location and make the results opaque.

We should strive for better results. We must. Even a company like Google, which has something to do with the environment, will only be responsible as we enforce it.

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